Topic: Media Research Center
Prior to last week's "Commander in Chief Summit," the Media Reseaqrch Center mocked moderator Matt Lauer, with Kyle Drennen asserting that "one wonders if NBC couldn’t find someone with a little more gravitas to host the presidential campaign event" and citing, among other things, how "on three separate occasions Lauer has dressed as a woman for the Today show’s annual Halloween episode."
After the forum, however, the MRC has decided that Lauer is full of gravitas. Why? He devoted a full one-third of his interview with Hillary Clinton to questions about her email server and gave Donald Trump a pass on his falsehoods like claiming to have always been against the Iraq war.
Thus, the MRC has repeatedly run to Lauer's defense over widespread criticism of his handling of the forum.
Curtis Houck touted how Lauer "hammer[ed] home concerns that the American people have about her with the private e-mail servers." He later complained about " near-universal excoriations ... of moderator and Today co-host Matt Lauer by the so-called objective media critics with reviews that the Clinton campaign probably couldn’t have written any better." Nicholas Fondacaro similarly cheered how Lauer "hammered Hillary Clinton repeatedly about her e-mail scandal."
Tim Graham whined that those reporting on critics of Lauer only cited "leftists" and tried to spin Lauer's softballing with Trump: "Let’s assume that’s about Trump claiming he opposed the Iraq war. CNN’s media team didn’t protest that Lauer also let Hillary say she has great respect for classified information and we didn’t lose an American in Libya."
Clay Waters also whined that "Those oh-so-objective journalists at the New York Times went after a fellow journalist, NBC’s Today show host Matt Lauer, for the crime of being unfair to Hillary Clinton and not sufficiently attacking Donald Trump."
Houck returned to claim:
With so-called neutral media critics throwing temper tantrums late Wednesday and early Thursday about NBC’s Today co-host Matt Lauer harshly questioning both presidential candidates (including Hillary Clinton) at the Commander in Chief Forum, Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer and Howard Kurtz appeared to have had enough as they fired back at the desperate criticism on America’s Newsroom.
Houck insisted that "there were many Trump supporters not happy with Lauer either so both Hemmer and Kurtz properly noted this fact and that it should instead lead to a conclusion that Lauer did a good job." He didn't mention that neither Hemmer nor Kurtz are "neutral media critics," being employed by Fox News but are simply parroting conservative talking points -- and Hemmer is actually a "news" anchor so he shouldn't be displaying any sort of bias at all (if the MRC ever bothered to apply its standards to any Fox News anchor besides Shepard Smith).
Houck's post, however, is the only post-forum MRC item to mention that the MRC mocked Lauer before the forum.
MRC research director Rich Noyes defended Lauer in an appearance on Fox News: "Well, I think Matt Lauer is getting bashed today not because Matt Lauer did a bad job. He actually has tough questions of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. He interrupted Donald Trump, but Trump stopped and didn't try to plow through him. He’s under fire from the left today because Hillary Clinton didn't do a good job answering those questions."
Noyes went on to claim that because of the criticism of Lauer, his NBC co-worker Lester Holt, who will be moderating a presidential debate, is "going to try to be very careful with the questions he's asking Hillary Clinton because of the way he's seeing his colleague being treated," adding, "It’s called playing the refs and I think, you know, it's something that Democrats are doing right now because they have a press corps that is sympathetic to the idea of stopping Trump."
Noyes didn't mention that his boss, Brent Bozell, was playing the refs more than a month ago -- before the debate moderator were even named -- was warning of biased moderators and declaring that "I'm watching to see to what degree are you going to have more impartial moderators this time."
Houck returned again to complain once more about criticism of Lauer, harrumphing that "the onslaught against Lauer has served as a reminder to readers and viewers where exactly the media’s priorities lie, no matter who they end up going after (e.g. one of their own)."
What Houck doesn't say: The fact that the MRC is defending Lauer shows where its priorities lie, even if it means contradicting itself.
Graham followed up by dismissing any criticism of Lauer as "Clinton-toady spin" (and insisting that "Lauer interrupted Trump more than he interrupted Mrs. Clinton"), then hilariously whining that Hillary Clinton is fundraising off Lauer's performance the same way Republicans like to fundraise off any perceived media criticism of them.
Graham wrote in another post: "It’s quite clear that if Hillary Clinton had actually won this side-by-side interview, the media elites would not be brutalizing Lauer. " It's even clear that if Lauer hadn't attacked Clinton more than Trump, the MRC would still be passing around that montage of a cross-dressing Lauer -- which is what the MRC really thinks Lauer is about. Funny how quickly that went down the rabbit hole once Lauer served the MRC's agenda.